Saturday, June 19, 2010

Kenneth Kearon Defends Archbishop’s Decisions

From The Living Church

“To remove people from representative functions [within the Anglican Communion] is not to be [exclusive],” the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Consultative Council, told the Episcopal Church’s Executive Council in a morning session June 18. “Being in full communion does not require us to have people from [a particular church] representing the Anglican Communion.”

Kearon’s comments came during an open session held during the Executive Council’s spring meeting, held at the Maritime Institute in Linthicum Heights, Md. Acting on a decision by the Archbishop of Canterbury, Canon Kearon recently removed the Episcopal Church’s representatives from global ecumenical bodies.

A “full communion relationship” does not commit any church body to “everything” done in connection with the Anglican Communion, Kearon said, but indicates a shared fellowship.

Questions by Executive Council members largely focused on two issues: a belief that the Episcopal Church has been unjustly excluded from Anglican bodies, and opposition to the actions of other Anglican Communion provinces in planting churches within the United States and providing structures for parishes that leave the Episcopal Church.

The disciplinary action against the Episcopal Church is “removing precisely the voices that need to be heard,” said the Rev. Dr. Lee Crawford of Vermont, who declared her concern “as a lesbian priest in a 20-year relationship.”

The Rev. Jim Simons of Pennsylvania asked whether provinces “engag[ing] in … jurisdictional incursions” will face any discipline. He said the Southern Cone and the Province of Rwanda are “functioning in [the Episcopal Diocese of Pittsburgh] without licenses and laying claim to some of our parishes … in clear violation of the canons.”

Canon Kearon responded that the Province of the Southern Cone has received a letter relating to these matters and “there is a deadline to this response.” He added that questions related to breaches of the third moratorium of the Windsor Report, which calls for an end to interventions in other provinces, “[have not] been answered by any [instruments] of the Anglican Communion” and he “would like to see it on the agenda of the Anglican Communion.”

More here-

Friday, June 18, 2010

Secretary general says Episcopal Church should have expected consequences for Glasspool consecration

From ELO- (yep that's me)

Towards the end of his nearly 10-minute statement, Kearon spoke about so-called "cross-border interventions" in which a bishop representing one province or diocese acts in another without permission. "Each instrument of communion, including the Primates Meeting, has condemned them and asked for them to cease, but we are a voluntary communion and have no [ability] to act against a province," he said.

After his statement, members of the council's Committee on World Mission and Anderson posed six questions to Kearon that reflected a compilation of questions the committee had received from council members. In addition, council member Diocese of Ohio Bishop Mark Hollingsworth asked Kearon about interventions in his diocese by a bishop of the Anglican Province of the Southern Cone.

Kearon told one of the questioners, Diocese of Pittsburgh council member Jim Simons, that Williams had asked Southern Cone Archbishop Gregory Venables for "a clarification of the current state of interventions into other provinces. There's a deadline for his response and there's a deadline in that letter to end the interventions."

Simons told ENS after the conversation with Kearon that "it is a great encouragement to me that the Archbishop of Canterbury recognizes that the Province of the Southern Cone is in violation of the Windsor Report moratoria on incursions, and has written the archbishop of that province asking for clarity about the extent of these incursions." In 2008, the majority of the Pittsburgh leadership voted to leave the Episcopal Church and join the Southern Cone.

During his remarks, Kearon also said that he has asked whether it "constitutes an intervention and is therefore a breach of the third moratoria" if a communion province has among its bishops one who is exercising ministry in another province without that province's permission.

"That question has not been addressed by any of the instruments of communion so I and the archbishop don't have guidance on that particular question," he said

More here-

A Message to The Episcopal Church from the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, meeting in Linthicum, Maryland, June 16-18, 2010

From ELO-

In the 1960s U.S. Navy Admiral Hyman George Rickover, an Episcopalian, gave President Kennedy a plaque with the old Breton fisherman’s prayer "O God, thy sea is so great and my boat is so small." That prayer is on a carving in a hall at the Maritime Institute in Maryland where we are meeting.

Meeting at a place that teaches Celestial Navigation may seem a natural for a church governing body but the truth is we are meeting here because it is good stewardship of the church's money. For the rest of the triennium we will be alternating meetings – with the exception of one meeting in the reorganized Diocese of Fort Worth – between the Maritime Institute and Salt Lake City.

This decision allowed the General Convention office to negotiate much better rates for multiple meetings.
Finding a healthy balance between responsible stewardship of money and human resources while carrying out the directives of General Convention and all the many other needs that arise between General Conventions is the ongoing challenge and joy of all Executive Councils. Add to that the increasingly interesting developments in the Anglican Communion and you have the makings of an intense three-day meeting. During its first session on Wednesday, the Rt. Rev. Jerry Lamb, provisional bishop of San Joaquin, briefed the Council about the challenges facing a diocese in which almost all the leadership is people who have never before been allowed to hold leadership positions; a diocese whose records, funds, and many buildings are in the hands of the former leadership; a diocese located in a state hit hard by the recession.

In spite of this, San Joaquin has moved from a survival mode to a missional mode and remains firmly committed to the ministry and mission of The Episcopal Church.
Bishop Lamb's presentation struck a chord with the Council and helped start a thread of conversation that reoccurred frequently in the course of the meeting. That is the fact that the reorganizing dioceses, like The Episcopal Church and indeed, the Anglican Communion, are dealing with what happens when the marginalized move to the center, and those formerly in the center are moved toward the margins. How does that change the formerly marginalized? Equally important, how does that change the diocese, the Church, the Communion?

This dynamic informed much of the business of the committee work that took up the entire day on Thursday as committees dealt with issues ranging from a request for continued financial support for the Dioceses of San Joaquin and Haiti to a discussion of the Gulf oil spill to responses to the proposed Anglican Covenant and the immigration law in Arizona.

More here-

Diaper bank to get donation from Huggies

From Illinois-

The area's only diaper bank is about to become a more reliable resource.

The St. Paul Diaper Bank in McHenry will receive a donation of 200,000 diapers from Huggies through Huggies' "Every Little Bottom" program at 11 a.m. Tuesday. The local diaper bank is the only one of 10 recipient locations nationwide that is faith-based.

The Rev. Jim Swarthout of St. Paul Episcopal Church created the diaper bank last year, and said community support has been high, but not always enough.

"We have a difficult time filling the needs sometimes," Swarthout said.

He said St. Paul's still is the only organized diaper bank in the state.

"I think the most important thing for us to do is to teach other people how to do this," Swarthout said.

A 2010 study conducted by Huggies found that one in three American mothers has struggled to provide diapers for her children.

For more information about the diaper bank and the significant donation, read tomorrow's Northwest Herald.

WYOMING: 14 members of one family baptized together

From ELO-

Betty Lou Anderson was overjoyed to hear there'd be two baptisms in her family June 13 at Holy Trinity Church, Gillette, in the Episcopal Diocese of Wyoming.
And then another one was planned. And then a few more, until the number swelled to 14.

"They just kept coming forward," Anderson said June 16 of her grandchildren, great-grandchildren and four other relatives who were baptized by the Rev. Tom Fiske.

"It's a miracle," added Anderson, 77, a widow who has attended Holy Trinity since moving to Gillette from South Dakota in 1956.

It's a miracle she helped along.

"Betty Lou Anderson is a very near and dear member of Holy Trinity, and she's been after them to get baptized," Fiske said during a June 16 telephone interview from his office. "In this post-modern society, it's very difficult to get that generation to step up to the plate and say, ‘All right, we need to be baptized.'"

With each additional request, Fiske recalled, "I just said, all right, we can do that. So I ended up with 14 baptisms … That's the most I've ever done, and it wasn't even Easter."

The candidates ranged in age from 33 years to about 15 months, said Fiske, who said the celebration didn't faze him. "Grace does abound, and baptism is the entrance into Christ's family. You might not know all the ifs, ands or buts about the church, but you are welcomed into our family. There you begin a process of learning and discerning about the presence of the Holy Spirit in your life."

As family matriarch, Anderson presented the adults – her grandchildren – to Fiske for baptism. "And then the adults who were baptized brought forth the children," Fiske said. "I reiterated over and over again that, while they may not all go to Holy Trinity, I really do care that they go to church."

More here-

Bishops criticise USPG cuts

From The Church Times-

A DECISION by the Anglican mission society the USPG to end its funding to Latin America and the Caribbean has been criticised by bishops in the region.

The cut is part of a restructuring to cover a projected £1.2-million deficit precipitated by the economic downturn. The USPG has partners in more than 50 countries.

The changes were discussed at the charity’s annual conference in Swan wick last weekend, attended by the Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in the United States, Dr Katharine Jefferts Schori, and the Archbishop of Cape Town, the Most Revd Thabo Makgoba.

The society plans to concentrate on projects in Africa and Asia, in particular capacity-building pro­grammes, theological education, church growth, and healthcare, its general secretary, the Rt Revd Michael Doe, said on Tuesday.

When the changes were first mooted in March, the Primate of Brazil, the Most Revd Mauricio Andrade, and ten other Brazilian bishops wrote to the society’s trustees to express “surprise and disappointment”.

They had not been consulted, they said, and it was “unjustifiable” to “completely eliminate an entire con tinent from your sphere of mission”. This demonstrated a “lack of con cern for Latin America and the Carib bean within the Anglican Communion”, and smacked of “colonial favouritism”. The cuts would force them to “abandon” projects. They called for period of transition.

The Bishop of Peru, the Rt Revd Bill Godfrey, described the decision to “cut off this whole part of the world as extraordinary and regret table”. He said that he had “been on USPG’s books for 25 years”. While he acknowledged that the USPG had to balance its books, he said: “I find it hard to believe the only answer is to withdraw funding. There have always been good times and more difficult times financially, but we pass through them.”

More here-

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Bishop crossed in mitre row

From The London Times-

Canon James Rosenthal, who took the picture above, was the last American employed by the Anglican Communion Office. He was made redundant two years ago. Of the annual ACO budget, 80 per cent comes from The Episcopal Church and the Church of England, about half each. Canon Kenneth Kearon, sec-gen of the ACO, has been invited to the TEC exec council meeting in Baltimore this week. I apologise to readers here for being a little lax in reporting his recent missive to TEC, kicking them off a couple of key ACO committees.

This is what Neva Rae Fox, the Presiding Bishop's spokeswoman, told me today:
'Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori shared the details with the Executive Council of The Episcopal Church, a 40-member body of elected lay, clergy and bishops of our Church who are currently meeting in Baltimore, Maryland. The details were reported in the Episcopal News Service article, and there isn't any more to say. Rather, Presiding Bishop Jefferts Schori and the Executive Council are focused on the mission and ministry of the church.'

Apparently the question of the ACO budget is one of the issues on the agenda this week...

More here-

Communion Tensions Echo at Executive Council

From The Living Church-

The Episcopal Church’s Executive Council began its spring meeting on June 16 by focusing on the church as a missionary society fostering both national and international partnerships, even amid inter-Anglican tensions.

“We don’t have [missionary societies]; we are one,” Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori said in her opening address, echoing comments she made to the United Society of the Propagation of the Gospel in Swanwick, England, on June 9. She stressed the importance of the church’s work with Native Americans in the Navajoland Area Mission, with the “Haitian diaspora” of the Diocese of Haiti, and with Latinos.

Linda Watt, chief operating officer of the Episcopal Church, described a forthcoming church communications strategy designed to help identify what draws people — particularly mothers with young children, Latinos, and young adults — to the Episcopal Church. Ministry to Asian Americans, a November 2010 New Dawn conference designed to help Latinos “feel part of the mainstream of the Episcopal Church,” and a December 2010 leadership initiative for Sudanese members of the church are also crucial endeavors, she said.

House of Deputies President Bonnie Anderson welcomed the Rev. Michael Pollesel, archdeacon in the Diocese of Ontario and General Secretary of the Anglican Church of Canada, to the council. Bishop Jefferts Schori delivered a plenary address to General Synod on June 8, asking that the two North American provinces deepen their partnership.

More here-

Grenade Attacks Were Govt. Plot, Say Kenyan Churches

From Christianity Today-

Major Kenyan churches starkly accused their government Monday of responsibility for grenade attacks that killed six people and injured almost 80 at a religious cum political rally on Sunday.

Three successive grenades shocked the thousands of Kenyans who had flocked to downtown Nairobi's Uhuru Park to pray against a proposed draft constitution that has sharply divided the East African nation.

President Mwai Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga have strongly advocated for the current draft, hoping an August 4 referendum will put an end to a constitutional revision process that has stretched out for decades.

Most church leaders have teamed up with opposition politicians, insisting the current draft is faulty and should not be passed without amendments. These clergy, who represent nearly all of the major mainline, evangelical, Pentecostal, Anglican and Catholic churches, have been particularly irked by the proposal to permit Islamic courts and expand the list of who is able to approve life-saving abortions.

In the looming referendum, voters have been asked to simply say yes or no to the proposed constitution; thus the two words have become quite popular in Kenya. Supporters of the current draft have marched the country clad in green shirts, while opponents have made their own public displays of strength clad in red. Most church leaders have told their congregations to vote no, though a few clergy have rebelled and told their congregations to vote their conscience, as have Seventh-day Adventist churches.

More here-

Praying for peace on city streets

From Boston Globe-

In a gesture borne of frustration and faith, a group of clergy from across Boston gathered in the City Council chamber yesterday to ask God for peace on the city’s streets.

“The violence in the neighborhood in which we serve is intolerable,’’ said the Rev. Cathy H. George of St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Upham’s Corner. “And it wouldn’t be put up with anywhere else that I’ve ever been in the state.’’

The City Council opens each of its weekly meetings with a prayer, but yesterday, in a show of concern about a wave of violence in which five people under 16 have been shot this spring, Council President Michael P. Ross and Councilor at Large Ayanna Pressley asked a number of clergy to come and pray.

“This moment is about underscoring that there is power in prayer,’’ Pressley said. “And in times of chaos, when we cannot make sense of anything, we need to lean not to our own understanding.’’

The clergy took turns reading a prayer written by Pressley’s aide, George Williams IV, who is a minister in the United Church of God in Christ.

More here-

Lambeth Palace tells presiding bishop not to wear symbol of office

From ELO-

When Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori preached and presided at a Eucharist June 13 at Southwark Cathedral in London, she carried her mitre, or bishop's hat, rather than wear it.
She did so in order to comply with a "statement" from Lambeth Palace, the London home of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, that said "that I was not to wear a mitre at Southwark Cathedral," Jefferts Schori told the Executive Council June 16 on the first day of its three-day meeting here.

Jefferts Schori made her remarks to council during a "private conversation" session attended by council members and church center staff, and later told ENS it could report her remarks.

The Church of England ordains women to the diaconate and the priesthood, but does not allow women to be bishops. Its General Synod is due to consider legislation to change that policy.

In the week before her visit, the presiding bishop said, Lambeth pressured her office to provide evidence of her ordination to each order of ministry.

"This is apparently a requirement of one of their canons about the ministry of clergy from overseas," she said.

The presiding bishop said both the ordination and mitre issues put the Very Rev. Colin Slee, Southwark's dean, "in a very awkward position."

More here-

Bishop Harris Recovering from Stroke

From The Living Church-

The Diocese of Massachusetts has reported that the Rt. Rev. Barbara C. Harris has undergone a stroke. The June issue of the diocese’s Episcopal E-News said the 80-year-old bishop had spent a weekend in a hospital after falling at her home. Medical tests found evidence of the stroke.

“She is mobile and now recuperating at a rehabilitation facility,” the report said. “She is reported to be gaining strength each day and hopes to return home soon. In the meantime, good wishes and words of encouragement may be sent to her in care of the Office of the Bishop, Episcopal Diocese of Massachusetts, 138 Tremont Street, Boston, MA 02111.”

She was consecrated in February 1989 as the first woman bishop in the Anglican Communion. She served as suffragan bishop in Massachusetts until 2003, and then accepted an invitation from the Rt. Rev. John B. Chane to assist in the Diocese of Washington.

Bishop Harris alluded to her age on May 9 when speaking at All Saints’ Church in Pasadena, Calif. She mentioned that the Rt. Rev. Thomas M. Shaw III, Bishop of Massachusetts since 1995, had raised $19 million to establish a diocesan camp and conference center named in her honor.

“I said, ‘It’s very dangerous to name something for somebody while they’re still living, because you never know,’” the bishop said amid widespread laughter. “So now he has ensured one thing: I will try to behave myself for the rest of my life.”

More here-

Executive Council begins three-day meeting

A nice job from ELO-

The Episcopal Church's Executive Council began its three-day meeting here June 16 by hearing about the efforts to rebuild two dioceses: Haiti and San Joaquin.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori also told the council that they could expect to have a question-and-answer session at 9 a.m. June 18 with the Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion. Details of that plan are here.

The June 16-18 meeting is taking place at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute in the Episcopal Diocese of Maryland. Council will hear about the mission and ministry of the diocese on the evening of June 17.

Council members spent the morning of June 16 in plenary session and then broke into committees in the afternoon. Those committee meetings will continue all day on June 17. The five council committees are Local Ministry and Mission (LMM), Advocacy and Networking for Mission (A&N), World Mission (WM), Governance and Administration for Mission (GAM) and Finances for Mission (FFM). On June 18, council will consider resolutions from those five committees

More here-

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Abp. Makgoba: Listen to the Global South

From he Living Church-

The Archbishop of Cape Town directly addressed his fellow primate, Presiding Katharine Jefferts Schori, during the annual conference of the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.

The Most. Rev. Thabo Makgoba prefaced his remarks on June 10 by offering his own province as an example of how Anglicans stay together amid their differences about human sexuality.

“If in our Synod of Bishops we did not see Christ in one another — and if we did not agree on the central issues of who Jesus is and of the salvation that he brings — it would be another matter,” Archbishop Makgoba said. “But we do. And so our differing views on human sexuality therefore take second place alongside the strength of this overpowering conviction of Christ among us. As long as we know unity in Christ in this way, human sexuality is not, and cannot be, a church-dividing issue.”

About three-fourths into his address, the archbishop looked into the audience and addressed Bishop Jefferts Schori directly.

“This may be painful to you and to some of us here, and it is painful to me, but I would rather say those concerns openly than behind your back,” he said. “It sometimes seems to me, and to some people in our province and in the Global South that, though many have failed to listen adequately to the Spirit at work within the Episcopal Church, at the same time there’s the perception that within your province there has not been enough listening to the rest of the Anglican Communion, particularly of the Global South.

“People had hoped that those of your bishops who were at the Lambeth Conference would have grasped how sore and tender our common life is,” the archbishop said. “We had hoped that even those who, after long reflection, are convinced that there is a case for the consecration of individuals in same-sex partnerships, might nonetheless have seen how unhelpful it would be to the rest of us for you to proceed as you have done.

More here-

Communion secretary general due to attend Executive Council meeting

From Baltimore-

The Rev. Canon Kenneth Kearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion, is to speak to the Episcopal Church's Executive Council here on June 18.
Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori told the council at its opening plenary session that Kearon would engage with the council in a question-and-answer session at 9 a.m. on the last day of the council's June 16-18 meeting at the Conference Center at the Maritime Institute.

His presence at the meeting will come 11 days after he announced that he had sent letters to five Episcopal Church members of the inter-Anglican ecumenical dialogues with the Lutheran, Methodist, Old Catholic and Orthodox churches "informing them that their membership on these dialogues has been discontinued." Kearon also said on June 7 that he had written to the Episcopal Church member of the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity Faith and Order (IASCUFO), withdrawing her membership and inviting her to serve as a consultant to that body.

Kearon's move came in response to Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams' May 28 Pentecost letter in which he proposed that representatives serving on some of the Anglican Communion's ecumenical dialogues should resign their membership if they are from a province that has not complied with moratoria on same-gender blessings, cross-border interventions and the ordination of gay and lesbian people to the episcopate. He specifically referred to the May 15 consecration of Los Angeles Bishop Suffragan Mary Douglas Glasspool and the unauthorized incursions by Anglican leaders into other provinces. Glasspool is the Episcopal Church's second openly gay, partnered bishop.

On the same day Kearon announced that he had terminated the Episcopal Church memberships, he said after a speech to the Anglican Church of Canada's General Synod that "the archbishop did have to act" following Glasspool's consecration.

More here-

Vestry asks that Rev. Lewis' license be restored

From West Virginia-

The vestry of St. John's Episcopal Church in Charleston has asked the state's bishop to restore the license of West Virginia's best-known religious reform crusader, the Rev. Jim Lewis.

Senior Warden John Canfield notified church members Tuesday that several meetings were held between Lewis, Rector Susan Latimer of St. John's and Bishop Michie Klusmeyer. Latimer and Lewis reached an agreement on protocols of church procedure, and the vestry approved it Monday night.

"The vestry has now officially requested that Bishop Klusmeyer relicense the Rev. Jim Lewis within the Diocese of West Virginia," Canfield wrote.

Lewis has been a major activist for four decades. While he was rector of St. John's in the 1970s, he launched Manna Meal, which feeds the needy, and also helped create Covenant House to aid the homeless. He led opposition to Kanawha County's notorious 1974 fundamentalist uprising against "godless textbooks." He performed union ceremonies for gay couples.

More here-

Churches offer prayers Thursday for the Gulf Coast Read more:

From Charlotte-

An Episcopal church in Charlotte is holding a service Thursday night to pray for the oil-spattered Gulf Coast. And it has asked churches around the country to do the same.

"I've been sort of amazed: For all the energy spent on this, nobody's praying about it," said the Rev. Paul Winton, rector of St. John's Episcopal. "And nothing else has worked."

Winton's church at 1623 Carmel Road will hold an hour of prayer "for the stewardship of God's earth" - with a special emphasis on the Gulf Coast - at 7 p.m. Thursday.

He and his staff have also e-mailed churches all over the city and country, asking them to set aside the same hour Thursday to pray for an end to the largest environmental disaster in U.S. history.

The BP deep-sea oil rig exploded April 20.

VIGILance 2010 is what Winton and his church are calling their effort.

"We've heard from several hundred churches around the country," said Winton, 55, who became the spiritual leader of the 1,000 families at St. John's Episcopal about five months ago.

Read more:

State Supreme Court overturns Episcopal property case

From Fairfax VA

A 3-year-old property dispute between Episcopalians and Anglicans will continue after the Virginia Supreme Court on Thursday overturned a Fairfax County Circuit Court ruling in the case and sent it back to the Circuit Court for further proceedings.

Nine Virginia churches that broke away from the Episcopal Church in early 2007 to join a more conservative Anglican Church are fighting to retain their properties, estimated to be worth as much as $40 million. To date, both churches have spent more than $5 million each in litigation costs, according to officials on both sides of the dispute.

Among the area congregations now aligned with the Convocation of Anglicans in North America are Church of the Apostles in Fairfax, Church of the Epiphany in Herndon, Church of Our Saviour in Oatlands, Truro in Fairfax City, and The Falls Church.

Citing a determination "to restore constitutional and legal protections for all churches in Virginia," the Episcopal Diocese of Virginia earlier this year filed a petition to appeal a 2009 Fairfax County Circuit Court decision upholding a controversial Civil War-era Virginia law called the "Division Statute."

More here-

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Heinz History Center to host Vatican exhibit of artifacts, artwork

From The Tribune Review-

Pittsburgh's robust Catholic heritage has earned it a papal visit of sorts.

One of the largest collection of Vatican art and historical objects to tour North America will go on display this fall in the Senator John Heinz History Center. "Vatican Splendors: A Journey Through Faith and Art" opens Oct. 2 in the Strip District museum.

The exhibit includes nearly 200 rare artifacts, relics and works of art from the 2,000-year history of the papal seat in Rome. They range from original frescoes dating from 1277 to artifacts unearthed from the catacombs beneath the Eternal City.

Some, such as a reliquary containing the remains of St. Peter and St. Paul, never have traveled outside the Vatican.

Pittsburgh is one of three cities in North America to host the latest round of the exhibition, open in St. Louis. The other venue is yet to be announced.

"The organizers know that Pittsburgh religious tradition is strong and that nearly 60 percent of people in Western Pennsylvania identify themselves as Catholic," said Andy Masich, president and CEO of the history center. "They felt there would be a very receptive audience in Pennsylvania for a world-class exhibit."

"Vatican Splendors" will display a first-generation cast of Michelangelo's' "Pieta" and signed documents and artifacts used in work on the Sistine Chapel.

More here-

Diary: One step forwards, two steps backwards. The wonderful world of the Church of England

From the London Guardian-

• If the US Episcopal Church – still part of the worldwide Anglican communion despite having the temerity to elect gay bishops – feels nervous about the warmth of its welcome from the mothership that is the Church of England, perhaps there are reasons. Katharine Jefferts Schori, the presiding bishop of the US church and the first woman ever to lead an Anglican province, preached at Southwark Cathedral last weekend despite muted hisses of disapproval by conservative evangelicals.

But close observers would have seen there was something missing: no mitre on her head. Who could be responsible? Step forward, Rowan Williams, Archbish of Canterbury, birthday boy (60 yesterday), who couldn't stop her preaching but said she could not wear the symbol of her office, or carry a bishop's crosier. Something to do with women bishops not yet being allowed in the C of E. A bit petty, some say, as Jefferts Schori is indeed a bishop and head of her national church – but in any event, she carried the mitre. And the subject for her sermon: God welcomes everyone, regardless of dress or condition.

More here-

NAVAJOLAND: Bishop-elect presents plan to move church forward

From ELO-

Delegates to the 34th annual Convocation of the Episcopal Church in Navajoland affirmed their bishop-elect's plan "to move forward on the next part of our journey" toward preparing for the future election of a Navajo as bishop.
The Rev. Canon David Bailey, bishop-elect of Navajoland, presented a four-part plan for the ECN, during the convocation held June 11-13 at St. Christopher's Mission, Bluff, Utah.

The plan included:

• Creation of the Bishop Steven Plummer School. The school would offer training within Navajoland especially for those identified for ordained and licensed lay ministries. It would operate as part of the Hooghan Learning Circle, the education program of ECN. It is to be named in memory of the late Rt. Rev. Steven Plummer, the first Navajo to serve as Bishop of Navajoland. His dream, noted Bailey, was to have more Navajo educated so they could serve all ministries of the church, and especially at the altar.

More here-

Anglican Church of Canada Accepts Diversity on Same-Sex Issue

From Christian Post-

The Anglican Church of Canada agreed last week not to take any legislative action in response to differing views on same-sex blessings.

Rather, they chose to have "more conversation," said Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada.

"That's an action," Hiltz insisted, according to the Anglican Journal.

Though the province, representing some 800,000 Anglicans, does not formally allow same-sex blessings and remains committed to the moratoria Anglican leaders worldwide agreed to in 2004, Canadian Anglicans acknowledged that a number of dioceses have already permitted the blessing of same-sex unions.

In 2003, the Diocese of New Westminster, one of 30 dioceses in the Canadian province, had heightened controversy in the global Anglican Communion when it approved the rite of blessing gay and lesbian unions.

"We acknowledge diverse pastoral practices as dioceses respond to their own missional contexts," states the Sexuality Discernment report, which the Anglican Church of Canada affirmed during its General Synod last week.

More here-

New Anglican Church Faces Fiscal Challenges

From Belief Net-

Editors' note: This is a corrected version of a story that first appeared on Beliefnet June 9.

AMESBURY, Mass. (RNS) When the Anglican Church in North America launched last year, founders were clear on what they didn't want to be: the Episcopal Church.

But as the ACNA marks its first anniversary with a meeting here this week, members are finding that carving out a new identity requires a good dose of patience, and more money than they have on hand.

The ACNA knows what it wants to be: a church-planting, soul-saving province officially recognized by other churches and leaders in the 77-million-member Anglican Communion.
Leaders reported some progress on those goals this week, but fiscal hurdles remain.
Archbishop Robert Duncan of Pittsburgh, who leads the ACNA, said Tuesday (June 8) that membership grew from 703 congregations to 811 during the last year, a step toward fulfilling his mission to plant 1,000 new churches within the first five years.

Meeting those goals, however, will mean surmounting financial challenges. The church's $1.36 million budget, approved by the ACNA's Provincial Council Tuesday, counts on a new initiative to raise $500,000 within the next six months. If the fundraising comes up short, projects central to establishing the young church's identity may stall.

Read more:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Flag Day

Kenya: Leaders Unite in Calls for Peaceful Rallies

From All Africa-

Three Anglican bishops and four MPs were on Sunday united in calling for peaceful campaigns to safeguard the stability of the country.

In a rare show of unity, the opponents and proponents of the proposed constitution said that it was important that the country be protected from disintegration. They called on all leaders to conduct mature campaigns free of chaos to avoid destroying the country.

Anglican archbishop Eliud Wabukala, Bishop Henry Gathii of the Embu diocese and his Meru counterpart Charles Mwendwa, teamed up with MPs Cecily Mbarire, (Runyenjes), Eugene Wamalwa (Saboti), Lenny Kivuti (Siakago) and Mutava Musyimi (Gachoka) in urging campaigners to shun hate speech.

While saying that the interests of the country surpassed any other, the leaders said the campaigners were obliged to ensure peace prevailed. Speaker after speaker underscored the need for the campaigners to respect one another irrespective of which side they supported.

"Beyond the August 4 horizon, we shall remain as one people and one nation and there is no need to sow seeds of discord," Mr Wamalwa said.

More here-

Just 11% satisfied with church response to sex abuse

From The Irish Times-

Over time more and more Irish people believe the church has not responded adequately to the Murphy report, writes PATSY McGARRY

WE ARE frequently reminded that the Catholic Church is not a democracy, whether by those within the church itself who trenchantly support the status quo or by its opposition, who very much lament the fact.

But, as they gather for their summer meeting in Maynooth this morning, members of the Irish Episcopal Conference would hardly be human were they not relieved that here, as elsewhere, their church does not have to answer before the court of public opinion.

At least in so far as that opinion is expressed through the ballot box.

Today’s opinion poll figures suggest that, following publication of the Murphy report last November, Ireland’s Catholic bishops are now more unpopular than the Government, while their leader could be said to be more unpopular than the Taoiseach.

According to figures published in this newspaper today just 11 per cent of those polled believe the Irish Catholic Church has responded adequately to the Murphy report.

According to figures published in this newspaper last Friday, satisfaction with the Government is now at 12 per cent, a percentage point higher than those who believe the church has responded adequately to the report.

More here-

CANA supports Episcopalian ban

From One New Now-

An official in the Convocation of Anglicans in North America (CANA) says the Anglican Communion's decision to cut Episcopalians from serving on ecumenical bodies is long overdue. (See earlier story)

The decision came from Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, spiritual leader of the Anglican Communion. He had called for a moratorium on appointing homosexuals to leadership positions in the U.S. church. But last month, the Episcopal Church named Reverend Canon Mary Glaspool, who is involved in a lesbian relationship, as an assistant bishop of Los Angeles.

Reverend Canon Julian Dobbs of the conservative group CANA believes U.S. church leaders not longer have regard for the authority of Scripture.

"The regard for the historic faith has all but evaporated in the...leadership of the Episcopal Church," he laments. "There appears to be little fear of God and a lack of understanding of what Jude in the New Testament calls 'the faith once for all entrusted to the saints' (Jude 1:3). When that changes, when that regard and that understanding for the historic faith disappears, then the church ceases to be the church that was inaugurated and established by Jesus Christ."

The Episcopal Church sparked controversy within the global communion seven years ago by electing Vickie Gene Robinson, a homosexual, as bishop of New Hampshire.

Episcopal head rejects a 'colonial' Anglicanism

From The Christian Century-

Episcopal Presiding Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori has forcefully defended her church's embrace of gays and lesbians and firmly rejected efforts to centralize power or police uniformity in the Anglican Communion.

Anglicans should be led by local communities rather than powerful clerics, Jefferts Schori argued in a June 2 letter to her church's 2 million members. And after 50 years of debate, the Episcopal Church is convinced that gays and lesbians are "God's good creation" and "good and healthy exemplars of gifted leadership within the church, as baptized leaders and or dained ones."

In May, the Episcopal Church consecrated its second openly gay bishop, leading Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams to say that the Episcopalians are out of step with most of the Anglican Communion and should not fully participate in ecumenical dialogue and doctrinal discussions.

Williams and other Anglicans have been pushing for more centralized authority in recent years as the communion struggles to overcome disagreements on how to interpret what the Bible says about homosexuality.

More here-

From rags to history: Finding Maz's jersey

An almost unbelievable story from yesterday's Post Gazette-

One afternoon some 30 years ago, Richard Probola was about to wash his car in his South Side driveway. But just before scrubbing away the grime with an outdated flannel baseball jersey, a dear friend drove up.

Recognizing the colors, lettering and number on the sleeveless garment, the visitor told him to stop.

"No, no, no, no, no! Are you crazy? That's part of Pittsburgh history. Give me that," Mitch Antin interrupted.

"What?" the late Mr. Probola shrugged. "It's just a rag I had lying around the house."

After the brief exchange, Dr. Antin -- now an orthopedic surgeon who lives in Squirrel Hill -- took possession. Folding it carefully into a plastic garment bag, he tucked it away for posterity in a safety deposit box kept in a bank.

"I just squirreled it away," he said.

For good reason. Not only was this a game-worn Pirates jersey belonging to a Hall of Fame player, it was the jersey on Bill Mazeroski's back from Game 7 of the 1960 World Series when he smote the home run that doomed the Yankees.

One person's rag is another person's priceless civic treasure, it seems. And now the garment is the central thread of a little-known back story being told to mark the 50th anniversary of arguably the single most electrifying moment in the city's sports history.

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Sunday, June 13, 2010

Tom Ehrich: A wedding message to a son

From Illinois-

On Saturday, my oldest son and a fine young woman were scheduled to stand on a rooftop patio overlooking Bryant Park, surrounded by the glowing skyscrapers of midtown Manhattan, and exchange marriage vows.

I was to have the honor of officiating. I know to keep my homily short and light, assuming I can muster the composure to say anything at all when standing before my firstborn and his beloved.

Yet more needs to be said.

“I know this isn’t the venue for deep thoughts. But as you have discovered in your five years together, life takes us deep.

“There is nothing breezy about earning a living in the 21st century, working side by side in a startup venture, finding a place to live, forming a circle of friends in a bustling city, or making the daily decisions that are the stuff of life.

“There is nothing brief and light in merging two lives, two sets of dreams, two extended families and two distinct personalities.

“Your families will do anything for you. Friends have traveled across continents and oceans to stand here with you. But in the deep places, it is just the two of you.

More here-